Though Québec City is best known for its French food, the city’s locals also have a big love of Italian cuisine. Little wonder that there are superb Italian restaurants throughout the city. We list the best of La Dolce Vita dining that this Canadian city has to offer.
La Pizzaio, as its name might suggest, specializes in pizza, offering unique topping combinations like the Di Marco, which combines the traditional tomato sauce and mozzarella with prosciutto, cream cheese, and arugula. All of the restaurant’s pies are topped with plenty of cheese, creating a four-leaf clover shape once it melts in the oven. Though small, La Pizzaio is bright, open, and welcoming; make reservations. For a pasta dish, try the cream cheese lasagna. Their best dessert is a unique twist on crème brûlée, made with Mars bars.
Il Matto has become a go-to recommendation for locals and tourists alike. Though it offers classic Italian comfort food, fusion dishes are available as well. The mushroom pappardelle is an excellent choice for the second course, while the fried calamari and eggplant Parmesan make for excellent opening choices. As for dessert, the bomba, a type of filled donut, comes covered in chocolate and hazelnut spread for a sweet and filling ending. The wine list is quite lengthy, as to be expected. Located in the lower Old City, the restaurant has a pleasant atmosphere in a low-lit space.
Bello Ristorante has a lively and casual atmosphere in a delightfully decorated space, with plenty of exposed brick and one of its wood ovens prominently on display near the bar. Specials for the day are put on a chalkboard on the wall. There’s also a terrace offering great views of old Québec City. For the menu, Bello specializes in risotto, including a shrimp and white wine variant. Another good pasta choice is the spaghetti all’anatra, made with duck confit, foie gras, pine nuts, and mascarpone. For those who aren’t quite so hungry, order the half-size portion.
La Pizz has a quiet location on the Place Royale with two terraces, one in the front and one in the rear. Both offer great views and the chance to do some people-watching. The atmosphere is generally informal and quite relaxing. As suggested by the name, La Pizz specializes in traditional thin-crusted pizza, with the standard options as well as a Mediterranean pie with Kalamata olives and feta cheese. However, the cannelloni and the veal saltimbocca make for excellent non-pizza options. The drink menu includes cocktails, wine, beer, and a surprisingly good house sangria.
Sapristi Bistro and Bar serves light, modern Italian fare with unique twists. The décor can best be described as urban chic, and it contributes to the casual atmosphere. Specialties include “Godzilla Pasta,” served with pulled pork and blue cheese; pasta olio, which incorporates chorizo, tomato confit, and Kalamata olives; and duck pasta, with duck confit, mushrooms, tomatoes, onion confit, and arugula. Cocktails here can be served in Mason jars. Pizza toppings include duck confit and Cheddar cheese. The patio is heated. Service is fast, friendly, and the wait staff are extremely knowledgeable about the best drinks to pair with your order.
Restaurant Parmesan offers a taste of the Old World in the heart of old Québec. The interior is decorated with thousands of liquor bottles from around the world and is full of character. Live music, including an accordion player, contributes to the quirky and fun atmosphere. Try the manicotti, made by one of the owners in the traditional Parmesan style. Don’t pass up the bruschetta either. For a meat-based dish, the prosciutto and smoked salmon plate aptly combines the two distinct flavors; mussels served three ways are the best seafood choice here.
Casa Calzone is off the beaten path and away from the standard tourist areas, so reservations may be a necessity. As suggested by the name, calzones are the speciality here, with both the traditional options like sausage or mushroom as well as some new twists on the comfort food classic. That includes a pulled pork calzone as well as a seafood variation. Portions are quite large. The family-owned and run restaurant is warm and welcoming. For pasta, try the tortellini. There are also gluten-free options.